Flybe fined £100,000 after worker falls from faulty lift at Exeter Airport

Troubled airline Flybe has been fined more than £100,000 after a worker fell into a lift shaft at Exeter Airport.

The member of staff was moving a loaded lift trolley when he fell into the shaft and suffered severe injuries in May 2016.

Although the exact cause of the incident could not be established, an investigation by the Health and Safety Executive found that the lift doors had a fault which meant they defaulted to locked.

Despite this the lift remained in use, leaving the safety features redundant.

Flybe, which is based at Exeter Airport, pleaded guilty to breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act and was sentenced yesterday (February 4).

The company - which recently had Government help to plug a multi-million pound hold in its finances - was fined £110,000 and ordered to pay costs of £9,963.

District Judge Jo Matson said the guidelines had not been followed and had put employees at risk.

A Flybe plane takes off. Credit: PA

She added the starting point for a fine is typically £300,000 - but this was reduced after considering Flybe’s guilty plea, the company’s exemplary health and safety record and their full cooperation with the Health and Safety Executive.

Despite a fault, busy workers who were moving parts and tools felt compelled to keep the lift in use. The safety features of the lift were therefore made redundant. The lift should have been taken out of service or an alternative system of work should have been in place, and this should have been communicated.

Emma O’Hara, Health and Safety Executive inspector